DeSantis signs strict social media ban for minors

On Monday, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will impose one of the most restrictive social media bans for minors in the country, pending legal challenges. The new law will prohibit children under 14 from having social media accounts and will require parental permission for 15- and 16-year-olds. This legislation, a top priority for Republican Speaker Paul Renner, is set to take effect on January 1.

Earlier in the legislative session, DeSantis vetoed a similar bill that would have banned minors under 16 from using popular social media platforms without parental consent. However, a compromise was reached with Renner to address the governor's concerns, resulting in the passage of a revised bill.

Despite expectations of legal challenges on First Amendment grounds, DeSantis expressed confidence that the law will be upheld. The bill received overwhelming support from both chambers of the Legislature, with some Democrats joining Republicans in its favor. Opponents, including Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani, argue that the law infringes on parental rights and suggest alternative approaches such as improved parental oversight tools and investments in mental health programs.

Renner, who anticipates legal battles from social media companies, emphasized the importance of protecting children from the addictive features of social media platforms, such as notification alerts and auto-play videos. He remains steadfast in his belief that the law will prevail in court.

Overall, the passage of this bill marks a significant development in the ongoing debate over regulating minors' access to social media and highlights the complex intersection of parental rights, free speech concerns, and the impact of technology on child development.


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